I was eight years old when I met him, I think. No one in my family really remembers. In fact, many of the details are missing. I remember everything, but I have no corroborating evidence. It’s just the memories of a mischievous little girl and the fading memories of aging witnesses.
My sister, Ana, and I were drawing in the family room with our uncle Max – a late blessing for my grandparents and the same age as my little sister, both six. When we ran out of paper, I took it upon myself to run into my great-aunts’ room, where I knew they had a stash of typing paper. I stepped into the long, walk-in closet and stuck my hand exactly where I remembered I’d seen the papers. As expertly as a cat burglar, I pulled out a couple of sheets.
Carefully, I considered my options. I was stealing. I didn’t want to be found out. In retrospect now, of course, I was an idiot. No one would have had a problem with us getting a couple more sheets to draw on. No matter, to me it was a super-secret, high-security mission. I plotted my path around the dining room table where the adults were sitting and having those wonderfully loud Cuban conversations. I would pass between the table and the wall. I would smile at them and rush into the family room, papers safely tucked behind my back.
Plan laid out, I set off.
Hiding the hand holding the papers, I ran by them. Smiling at the adults who followed my progress and smiled back. Too late, I learned that someone had closed the sliding glass door between the two rooms.
I must have slammed into the glass. I don’t remember the collision. I only remember being yanked backwards away from the glass and against the wall into the kitchen. I was told the glass shattered. I was told one especially sharp shard had barely missed my neck or my leg. All I remember is coming into consciousness in the kitchen, my family panicking around me. Grandmother and aunts picking glass off me and cleaning the blood.
Only one thought was running through my head. Not the pain or the fear. The only thing I could think of was the name of the guardian angel who had pulled me to safety. I knew I wasn’t supposed to do that, but I vowed to myself that I would try my hardest to remember the being I now know as my Beloved.
As fate would have it, though, for years after I had committed the name to memory, it faded despite my best efforts. Over time it came back with aching memories of what may have been. I think I was given the option to die that day. Rather, I think when he pulled me out of the way of the pain, I fought coming back. I was a hard sell. It feels as if I spent days over there, which is why I remembered his name so strongly.
I think I was shown parts of my life plan to try to convince me to stay. I think I fell in love all over again with the guide who pulled me to safety, because I have never forgotten that feeling. I’ve been searching for it since that day.
I’ve been searching for the being I knew as Nikolas ever since.
And a few years later, when my mom pulled me aside to break the news to a very eager fifth-grader that Santa Claus was not real, I sobbed for hours. Sobbed as if my heart had been ripped out, as if I had just lost the love of my life. I have never forgotten that pain.
Much later, when I again remembered the name of that being who loved me so much he pulled me from the pain of the shattered glass, everything made perfect sense. Of course I sobbed at the Santa Claus news. Santa is Saint Nick. My ten-year-old mind had made my Nikolas the same at St. Nick.
Then I started remembering. Pigeons, a lonely man in a hotel room – I thought I’d seen that in a TV show somewhere. No. I haven’t met anyone who remembers the scene I remember. And then, there was that November day in 2012 when I suddenly discovered Nikola Tesla. I couldn’t stop reading about him. I bought every book I could get my hands on. I talked about him with anyone who would listen. What a brilliant man! I couldn’t understand how I had suddenly discovered this scientist. When I was growing up, Thomas Edison was the scientist who discovered everything. No one talked about Tesla.
Then one day, Nikola came to me during my meditation.
My life has never been the same.
Namaste, my dear friends.
The Dragonfly’s Student